Sunday, December 15, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - December 15, 1979

Some undated artwork I made from December 1979. Apparently for a birthday card.

Friday, December 13, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - December 13, 1979

My Grandma Bertha decorated her house for Christmas, inside and out. Pretty sure this is not the house I remember her living in when I was a child but it does look similar inside.

Monday, December 02, 2019

No Shave November

As I sit here staring at a Christmas tree invading my space in my usual spot in the corner, I'm reminded that things can be a lot worse. A lot worse. I've been listening a lot to Gary Vaynerchuk, aka Gary Vee, lately and he constantly reminds me to be positive. That complaining isn't worth your time. That we live in an age where we really do have it better than ever.

And before I get too far, I'll warn you, especially you mom, that this may make you cry.

Growing up as a kid, I was totally comfortable with having divorced parents. It was normal for me. I never knew how horrible an experience it is, for everyone involved, until I got older and met kids who had parents in the middle of a divorce. Or parents who didn't talk to each other. And then, as I was even older, I talked to my parents more about their experience in getting a divorce. It sucked. Thankfully, they put me first and, despite what some may claim, I feel like I've come out of the process as a fairly normal person.

My mother would eventually remarry. Bobby. Pa. Bob. Whatever I called him, he was my stepfather. I didn't know it at the time but he wasn't the nicest man. He was but he wasn't. He would go from being a complete racist to showering me with love and gifts. I never knew how good, and bad, he was until I was older. He died twenty years ago this past July and it hit me and my mom hard at the time. It was unexpected.

Shortly after Bobby's death, my mom started dating a new man. Steve. When I first met him, he looked like Jesus. A slightly older version of a long haired, bearded, straight out of some gold plated art piece, Jesus. I was shocked at how fast my mom went from grieving her husband to moving in with a new man. As I got a little older and watched other people in my family go through the same process of losing a spouse, I realized it wasn't a mistake. I realized it was perfectly acceptable because it was what they wanted. It made them happy to be together, love each other, to live with each other. I was the one that had a problem, not them.

I got over my problem with mom and Steve. I grew to accept Steve. I never lived with Steve as much as Bobby so I never got to know him as well as I should have. Again, that was my problem, not theirs. But over the last twenty years, I've gotten to know him well enough that he's been the best thing my mother could hope for. The best thing I could hope for in somebody taking care of my mom. And they really do take care of each other.

Where is all of this leading? Steve has cancer. He's had several different types of treatments with varying levels of success. But the cancer isn't curable. He's currently going through chemotherapy treatments which, as is often the case, is leading to hair loss. For a man that has had long hair and a beard for decades, this is a big deal. Even though he says it doesn't matter, I think it's been part of his identity for so long, I think it will matter.

So that's why I grew a beard for a month. No Shave November, or Movember in some places, began as a way to raise awareness of cancer in men. It has grown over the years and morphed a bit, but the endgame is still the same. Raise awareness and money for cancer research. So I grew a beard for a month.

In the end, it was interesting to see how everyone reacted. My son noticed first and knew exactly what I was doing. My wife and daughter noticed but didn't say anything for a bit. My wife made it clear she didn't like the beard. My kids didn't care much. I don't think my dad said anything about it. My mom was sad when she found out why. I told her that if Steve was going to lose his beard to chemo, I could grow one for a month in honor of him.

Every day, I was tempted to cut it off. It itched for the first week. Made me look like a skunk for the second week. Tickled and made my face feel numb in the third week. Insulated my face from a cold pillow in the last week. All in all, it wasn't fun. But I knew, every time I wanted to call it quits early, I knew Steve had it worse than me. So I kept it growing.

As others around town noticed, only a few asked why I was growing a beard. If they asked, I told them. It felt weird giving an elevator pitch on how my beard was linked to Steve but after a few tries I got a little better. Most people didn't ask. Some didn't notice. And that made me realize that it was like cancer. So many people have survived it or are currently suffering from it yet they don't throw it around in conversation.

As we're now past No Shave November, I'm back to a clean shaven face. I hated that beard. I don't think I'll ever grow another one. I hate cancer. But I can't do anything about that. But maybe, just maybe, if we all throw a few coins into a pot, we can help researchers find a cure or a better treatment. After all, cancer treatments have progressed exponentially in modern history. After all, we really do have it better than ever.


No Beard:

Sunday, December 01, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - December 1, 1979

Although there is no specific date attached, it was labeled as December 1979. Once again, we see Jill (age 3) and Cindi (age 8) Eubanks.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - November 30, 1979

My Grandma Bertha and her husband at the time, Merle Yaryan, came to visit over Thanksgiving. Apparently I took walks with her and baked cookies.

This photo was printed in December of 1979 but my best guess is this was taken over Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - November 10, 1979

While I'm not sure of the exact date of the photo, my father's birthday is on the 10th. He would have been 35. The celebration took place at the Landover Mall.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - November 7, 1979

A letter from the Homeowner Association was sent. Nothing super exciting.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - October 31, 1979

Although the photos were printed in December of 1979, notes on the back appear to show that it was taken in October of 1979. Specifically at the house in Hollywood, Maryland on Flintlock Court. I find it interesting how some of them have aged over time.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - October 17, 1979

Once again, I'm back at the doctor. This time with sores in my mouth. But the visit to the dentist went well.

Even more interesting though was a letter my dad wrote to my grandmother Dorothy (at least I'm pretty sure that's who he wrote it to). The letter was written in the evening after my dentist appointment. There's a ton of mundane details in the letter but they make such a compelling story to read. The vacuum broke so it had to be fixed. My dad was working on his car and the door to the house. Meanwhile I was enjoying my chalk board and water colors. I could also dress myself and "read" a book from my mom. I also know most of my colors. Other little details are mentioned that are more memorable to me as they tie in with things I remember as I got older. Like Merle, my grandmother Bertha's second husband. And the "new black pickup" which ended up being totaled much later in my life.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - October 3, 1979

On my third birthday I was almost three feet tall!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - September 12, 1979

Yet another letter from the Homeowner's Association. In other news, my dad is looking for a new job and my mom is going to school.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - August 31, 1979

I'm not sure when or where this photo was taken, but it's labeled as August of 1979.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - August 10, 1979

Guess I had some funny feet as a kid? Probably just trying to match my funny head growth.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - June 26, 1979

Even though the house is for sale, the Homeowner's Association sent a letter regarding the use of a plot of land in the neighborhood.

Friday, June 07, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - June 7, 1979

My dad and I went to the airport to begin our vacation. It went from June 7th through June 25th. The only photos I have of the trip were taken at Aunt Wilma and Uncle George's house in Sun City, Arizona. I've redacted the surviving members of my family that were also there.

Monday, June 03, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - June 3, 1979

My parents finally listed our house on Flintlock Court.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - June 2, 1979

My mom came to the house for a little bit to spend time with me and clean. My parents would put the house up for sale the next day.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - June 1, 1979

I won't post the whole document as it is over twenty pages long. But I find it amazing that my mother could find a new place to live, go through a divorce, try to visit her son, and write a paper for graduate school. She may not have gotten the best grade for it but it is still impressive to me.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - May 25, 1979

My mom came and had dinner with my dad and I. The divorce is impacting everyone deeply and will for years. It's hard reading about it even though I know decades later things will be better and wounds will have mostly healed.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - May 19, 1979

My dad and I went to my Uncle Harold's house. I believe he was living in Fort Meade, Maryland at the time.

Monday, May 13, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - May 13, 1979

It was Mother's Day and I spent some time with my mother. She came by at 10am to pick me up for the day. My dad came by later in the afternoon to bring me some food.

Monday, April 29, 2019

40 Years Ago Today - April 29, 1979

I'm hesitant to share too much about this particular time frame in my life because of my parent's divorce. There was a lot going on and a lot I won't share. But in this case, I think it's okay to share that I went with my mother to see her new "place." I assume it was an apartment but honestly I'm not sure. I vaguely recall her living in a house with a roommate but because it was so long ago, I'm not sure if it's a true memory or one that has been added over time from hearing stories.

Monday, April 15, 2019